As you might have read in today's MH story on FIU's reserves Next Panthers Up that stepped up against Louisiana on Saturday, your Panthers have adopted a motto from the title of a Baltimore Ravens book called "Next Man Up" when it comes to the boatload of injuries to hit FIU this season.
And several of those Panthers -- that filled in last Saturday and that will fill in for what could be the remainder of the season -- came up huge when it mattered most in the waning moments of Saturday's 20-17 overtime win over the Ragin' Cajuns.
By the way, great shot by Sam Lewis in the photo, right of the blocked field goal to end the game. (Click on the photo to enlarge it and get a better view of the picture). Also, really liked the Panthers wearing all white uniforms for home games.
Saturday's game unleashed the Aaron Davis (left) we had heard so many good things about through high school and now in an FIU uniform. AD was all over the field and led FIU in tackles on Saturday. I thought only No. 44 is supposed to do that. Well, let's add No. 45 AD to lead that category.
Just as big coming through with the 3 biggest tackles in the win was unsung senior linebacker No. 49 Tyler Clawson (below, right), who almost single-handedly stopped the UL overtime drive with tackles that resulted in 1-yd gain, no gain and a loss of 2 yds.
Freshman safety Jonathan Cyprien continued his solid work as he tied with AD for the team lead in tackles. Cyp is already second on the team this season in tackles with 47.
Of course, you can't forget the line's push led by Jonas Murrell on the field goal attempt that allowed Tourek Williams to get his left Panther paw up to block the kick and seal the win for FIU.
Offensively, we have begun to see the emergence of Wayne Times (left, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo). The way WT plays reminds me of T.Y. Did you see the moves he made on that 16-yard pass play with 22 seconds left to get the ball to the UL 4-yard line? WT caught a short pass and went another 15 yards as if we was a player in Madden.
Also, liked the way walk-on receiver Ariel Martinez has taken advantage of playing time. Although, he didn't have eye-popping numbers Saturday (3 catches for 39 yards), I do like how AM runs routes and seems to have secure hands along with good size (6-3) for a receiver.
Colt Anderson is looking better each game at tight end. He's got good hands too and is athletic enough to beat the LBs covering him.
Kudos to the kicking game too for FIU. Punter Carlos Munera averaged nearly 50 yards per punt vs. UL (48.3 yds) and kicker Dustin Rivest kept up his solid season. DR is now 9 of 11 on FGs and a perfect 22 of 22 on PATs.
Saturday's game was not the prettiest for the FIU offense, but the Panthers did churn out 145 yards on the ground. Still, if FIU's offense clicks like it has for most of this season, then I think the Panthers blow out the Cajuns on Saturday, because of the way the FIU D came to play.
However, FIU cannot beat its chest too much, because one of the most exciting players in the Sun Belt awaits them on Saturday in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Middle Tennessee quarterback Dwight Dasher (left), who sees FIU like a dog sees a piece of filet, is waiting. Dasher, who is generously listed at 5-10, feasted on FIU two years ago in Murfreesboro accounting for 5 TDs in a game that was 47-0 Blue Raiders at halftime.
Dasher is like a mini-Vince Young (Longhorn days [photo, right] and not Titans). He will hurt you as much with his legs as his arm. He went 10-17 for 240 yards passing and 3 TDs and rushed for 58 yards and 2 TDs in the 2007, 47-6 win over FIU.
Last season, MT coach Rick Stockstill shot himself in the foot by not starting Dasher instead going with senior QB Joe Craddock, who was as mobile as a rock. Dasher came in the second half in the 31-21 FIU win and ran for 78 yards. Too little, too late in 2008.
We'll have more on the Blue Raiders later in the week and I'll be checking in with you from Ocala in the next few days when we pay tribute to the FIU ladies.
To those FIU fans who said hello at Saturday's game in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter, my apologies for not going over to the stands and meeting you good people, but I had to be on the sideline for the game-tying drive and overtime. Drop by the open-air press box before the next home game against North Texas and say hello.
You get another 2 for 1 deal from the GPP later this week: LIVE BLOG from the FIU/Middle Tennessee game on Saturday and a LIVE BLOG from the FIU/North Carolina basketball season opener from the Dean Dome next Monday night.
WesFIU: Pete, I was at the game and I belive I didnt see TY play at all except for a kickoff return. Is he injured??? Whats going on???
PP: T.Y. is day-to-day with his recurring knee injury. The knee acted up on Saturday and he could barely run. He was cleared by the doctors today to be able to go at full strength in practice this week. Let's see how he practices this week.
Gooch7: Pete: Do you know what games we have scheduled for next year? How many open spots do we have in the schedule to fill? Finally, are we going to have 5 or 6 home games next year?
PP: Full slate of Sun Belt games (8) and then non-conference games at Texas A&M to open the season, home opener vs. Rutgers, at Maryland and at Central Florida. There will be 5 home games next season. In 2011 is the first season FIU has 6 home games when UCF and Duke visit FIU Stadium along with 4 Sun Belt home games.
WIN A GPP BLOG WEEK 8 STANDINGS (FIU/Middle Tennessee scores due by 4:29 p.m. Eastern GPP Time on Saturday)
FIU0406 (134), NYCFIUFan (155), FIU PantherFan (169), CrazyCane (179), MIA/NY Josh (201)
Joel (144), CJ (145), FIU Fanatic (153), BaltimorePanther (168), FIUcanesFan (168), theINTERNATIONAL (171)
LonePanther (148), TheChampionUnderdog (170)
Golden Panther 90 (130), Clawing Cancer (151), SouthPaw (157)
Tri-Panther (187), FIUer (269)
GPP: 6-2, (142)